Here are some authors and books I’ve loved at different times in my life. I stick here to chapter books and novels, because that’s mostly what kids read for themselves, and the same for me. Also, you’ll find I lean toward fantasy, science fiction, and humor. Reality interests me, but not so much in a novel.
Many of the children’s books and authors are ones I didn’t read till I was grown up, and many of the adult books and authors are ones I read as a kid.
ROALD DAHL. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and many others. Charlie is probably my all-time favorite children’s book—though when I was the age for it, it hadn’t yet been written!
ASTRID LINDGREN. The Pippi Longstocking series, Ronia, the Robber’s Daughter, and others. The Pippi books were my absolute favorites around 3rd and 4th grades.
MADELEINE L’ENGLE. The Wrinkle in Time series. Another great favorite I didn’t read till I was grown up.
MARY NORTON. The Borrowers series. When I was a kid, I wrote her a fan letter telling her I wanted to be an author, and she wrote back saying she was sure I would!
RUTH PLUMLY THOMPSON. She continued the Oz series after the death of L. Frank Baum, writing dozens more books.
E. NESBIT. Five Children and It and The Story of the Amulet. (Skip The Phoenix and the Carpet.)
JOAN AIKEN. The Wolves Chronicles (starting with The Wolves of Willoughby Chase).
DANIEL PINKWATER. Lizard Music and others.
STEPHEN MANES. Chicken Trek and others.
BEVERLY KELLER. The Desdemona series (starting with No Beasts, No Children), Only Fiona, and others. Bev is a personal friend.
RICHARD PECK. The Blossom Culp series (including Ghosts I Have Been) and others.
DIANA WYNNE JONES. Witch Week and others.
SUZY MCKEE CHARNAS. The Valentine Marsh series (starting with The Bronze King).
MALCOLM BOSSE. Deep Dream of the Rain Forest and others.
NANCY FARMER. The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm and others. Nancy’s a long-time friend of mine, and I think she’s brilliant.
PHILIP PULLMAN. The Sally Lockhart series (starting with The Ruby in the Smoke) and the His Dark Materials series (starting with The Golden Compass).
MICHAEL HOEYE. The Hermux Tantamoq series (starting with Time Stops for No Mouse).
KATE THOMPSON. The New Policeman series (starting with The New Policeman).
Other Children’s Books
The Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series, by Betty MacDonald.
The Black Stallion series, by Walter Farley.
The Happy Hollisters series, by Jerry West.
The Danny Dunn series, by Jay Williams and Raymond Abrashkin.
The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett. For many years as a kid, I read this maybe once a year.
Escape From Warsaw, by Ian Serailler. (When I read it, it was called The Silver Sword.)
The Pushcart War, by Jean Merrill.
The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster.
Erik the Viking, by Terry Jones.
Dragon of the Lost Sea, by Laurence Yep.
Feed, by M. T. Anderson.
Bone, by Jeff Smith. (I read it as one volume, but it’s also a series.)
Un Lun Dun, by China Miéville.
MARK TWAIN. Letters from the Earth and others. My favorite author in 5th and 6th grades.
J. D. SALINGER. The Catcher in the Rye, Franny and Zooey, and others. My favorite author in my early teens.
J. R. R. TOLKIEN. The Lord of the Rings trilogy. My favorite author around 9th and 10th grades.
C. S. LEWIS. The Perelandra trilogy (starting with Out of the Silent Planet).
URSULA LEGUIN. The Left Hand of Darkness and others. Left Hand was my favorite book for many years.
JOHN BARTH. Giles Goat-Boy, The Sot-Weed Factor, and others.
MICHAEL ENDE. The Neverending Story and others.
DIANNE DAY. The Fremont Jones series of historical mysteries (starting with The Strange Files of Fremont Jones). I know Dianne personally from the time we both lived in Pacific Grove, California.
GUY GAVRIEL KAY. The Fionavar Tapestry series (starting with The Summer Tree) and others.
DIANA GABALDON. The Outlander series (starting with Outlander).
ALEXANDER McCALL SMITH. The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series (starting with The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency) and others.
Other Adult Books
The Adventures of the Black Girl in Her Search for God, by Bernard Shaw. My absolute favorite book for many years, beginning around 5th grade. (Reprinted since then as The Black Girl in Search of God.)
The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding.
All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque.
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, by Alexander Solzhenitsyn.
Catch-22, by Joseph Heller.
The Crock of Gold, by James Stephens.
The Last Unicorn, by Peter Beagle.
American Gods, by Neil Gaiman.
Bone, by Jeff Smith.